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Mattress Buyer Guide

Best Bed in a Box Mattress Buyers Guide!

July 31, 2020

SIMILAR TO CASPERGhostBed Mattress$100 Off Discount
EDITOR’S CHOICEHelix Sleep Mattress$75 Off Code: SY75
MOST SUPPORTIVENest Bedding Love & Sleep Mattress8% Off Code: RIZ8
MOST EXTRASYogabed MattressSee on Yogabed.com
MOST AFFORDABLEZinus Green Tea MattressSee on Amazon

Before we talk specifically about GhostBed, we should run through the value proposition for these bed in a box brands. The idea here is that buying a mattress at a retailer is a dreadful experience—you have to deal with salesmen, up-selling, delivery, setup, etc. Ordering a mattress online pretty much fixes all of that. You can shop at your leisure from the comfort of your own home. And all of these brands will ship your mattress directly to your house for free in a box that looks like it should house a mini fridge rather than a mattress.

Even better, they all offer a trial period where you can test the mattress to see if you like it. If you do, great, keep it. If you don’t, they all offer free returns. In fact, with the exception of Zinus, all of these brands will pick your mattress up for free and refund you all of your money straight away—you don’t even need to send it back or deal with a lengthy return process. For Zinus, they pay the return postage, which is a little interesting since you can’t exactly get the bed back in the box. Nevertheless, if you don’t like the mattress you can get your money back (within the trial period). And if you decide to keep the bed, all of them offer a 10-year warranty (GhostBed is actually a 20-year warranty). The value proposition is solid and I think a lot of people are warming up to the concept of ordering a mattress online, especially since the brands have made it virtually risk free.

GhostBed Mattress: Similar to Casper

GhostBed Mattress Construction

GhostBed is a product of Nature’s Sleep, a company that makes many other mattresses, however, GhostBed has become increasingly popular over the past year or so and is one of the top bed in a box brands. This bed is made in the USA, has that 20-year warranty (which is double what the rest of the industry offers), and is really interesting for the fact that it is made of both memory foam and latex foam. You get the advantages of memory foam—mainly that it is soft and conforms to your body—as well as latex, which adds durability and coolness. Below is a breakdown of the various layers that make up GhostBed.

ghostbed mattress reviews construction

GhostBed uses an aerated latex foam, which is designed to increase airflow in the bed and dissipate body heat. It also helps with the responsiveness of the bed, however, GhostBed, interestingly enough, is one of the slower beds to react to when pressure is taken off the bed. It’s not an issue, but you may think about rotating this mattress over time, as we can see it possibly sagging somewhat eventually.

The memory foam is really what cradles your body and is absorbing pressure. In our opinion, memory foam tends to be more comfortable to sleep on than straight latex so we’re pleased to see that Nature’s Sleep incorporated a good amount of memory foam with this bed. The bottom layer is simply high-density support foam, which supports the rest of the mattress and helps to keep the bed’s shape. Despite this being a softer mattress, at no point did we feel like we were sinking through the bed.

GhostBed Discount: Up To $200 Off (applied automatically at checkout)

GhostBed Mattress Feel & Comfort

The GhostBed is comfortable, no doubt about that. In terms of feel, we think it’s a 4.75/10 in the softness to firmness scale with 1 being extra soft and 10 being rock hard. It’s a slightly softer than Leesa and Casper, but firmer than the Zinus Green Tea Mattress. In fact, if the name GhostBed wasn’t a dead giveaway, you can tell just with the feel that Nature’s Sleep is going right after Casper with this mattress. Below is a chart that shows how we think these five mattress (and a few more) stack up with regard to softness/firmness.

We think GhostBed will be just fine for anyone that’s a combo sleeper, meaning that you rotate throughout the night between sleeping on your back, stomach, and side. The Mattress is soft, but not too soft and firm, but not so firm that side sleeping is out of the question. In fact, if you’re predominately a stomach/back sleeper, you should be ok and, likewise, if you’re a side sleeper you should be just fine as well. This is an accommodating mattress.

mattress comparison review bed in a box mattress reviews
Below the line is a softer mattress. Above the line is a firmer mattress.

GhostBed Mattress Temperature/Motion Transfer

Nature’s Sleep really plays up the coolness and airflow with GhostBed, but we didn’t feel that it was any better than the rest of the bed in a box market. It wasn’t abnormally cool or hot—it felt very similar to Casper Mattress, but it was definitely not as cool as Purple Mattress or Cocoon Chill by Sealy. Still, we had no problem with the temperature with this bed.

ghostbed mattress reviews coolness
Matt is big on taking siestas.

As for motion transfer, GhostBed performed very well here. We had no issues with cross-mattress motion and we think this will do just fine for anyone with a partner that moves around a lot in their sleep. The cover stretches a little, which creates a a little extra movement, but the bed itself really does limit motion. That’s mostly thanks to the memory foam, but also the support foam has some give to it to where it’s not a rigid block. Very good for motion transfer.

GhostBed Mattress Coupon Code + Price

When it comes to pricing, GhostBed is just about average for the bed in a box industry. Here’s how the MSRP prices break down:

SizePrice ($MSRP)
King/California King: $1,070/$1,095
Twin XL$650

If you apply a GhostBed Promo Code you’ll get the mattress even cheaper. The thing is, you won’t often see an actual GhostBed discount code, however, they run specials all of the time that apply automatically at checkout. In fact, usually you can get $100-$200 off any mattress via this linkwith the discount automatically applied at checkout. Take the cash discount and this becomes a pretty dang good value at under $900 for a king size mattress. Like most bed companies though, GhostBed generally offers larger discounts during major holidays, so it may be worth checking GhostBed.com for current offers.

Helix Sleep Mattress: Editor’s Choice

Helix Mattress Overview & Construction

Helix Sleep has the most interesting concept of all of the mattresses on this list. Instead of making a single mattress and marketing all of its features, Helix allows you to fully customize your own mattress, including feel, support level, and temperature. You can even customize the bed by side so that you and your partner can have different specifications. Helix has basically made it silly to not try out one of their mattresses, especially since you still have that 100-night risk-free trial period and free shipping/returns.

You can fully customize a mattress, have it sent to your house, decide whether its perfect or not, and make a decision after 99 nights. Helix has a brief survey that you fill out on their website in order to customize the mattress. They call it the Helix Sleep Quiz and basically it’s just a few questions about your ages, weight, sleep habits, and preferences.

helix sleep mattress review comparison
Helix Dynamic Foam on top. Microcoils as a mid-layer. Polyfoam for support/structure.

As for the construction of a Helix mattress, clearly it varies somewhat by mattress, but for the most part on the bottom is a polyfoam support layer. Then you have hundreds of microcoils as the middle layer. These coils allow Helix to customize the bed based on your feel and support preferences. You cannot feel the coils through the top of the bed unless you jump around on it, but you can feel them through the sides of the mattress. We never had any issues with them, but it is one of the only mid-priced bed in a box mattresses to incorporate coils.

On top of those coils there is a pretty thick layer of Helix Dynamic Foam, which they say is somewhat like memory foam and latex, but is neither in actuality. What we can say is that it’s comfortable and and indeed does not feel like proper memory foam (i.e. ‘no stuck in the mud’ feeling). The cover for Helix is really comfortable and extra soft—definitely one of the best mattress covers out there and reminds us a lot of the cover on Casper.

Helix Sleep Coupon Code: $75 Off with Code: SY75

Helix Mattress Comfort & Feel

We ordered the Helix mattress in the plush feel, which is slightly on the softer side and then we also wanted the coolness turned all  the way up. The net result was one of the most comfortable mattresses we’ve ever tried out. In fact, if we were to publish a list of the top 10 mattresses or best bed in a box mattress, Helix will definitely be on the list and almost certainly in the top 5. In the video linked above, Dillon, Matt, and Jeff all noted that Helix was the de facto winner. This is just a superb mattress.

helix sleep mattress review comparison bed in a box
Dillon doing some serious lounging.

Despite the fact that we specified the plush version for this bed, we felt that it was about a 5/10 on that soft to firm scale. It was about on-par with Casper and Leesa. If you twisted our arms, we’d probably say it’s more like a 4.9/10, but still right in the middle in terms of being supportive and soft. It will be perfect for side sleepers, back/stomach sleepers, and combo sleepers so it’s hard to knock Helix.

Basically if you sleep…at all, ever, you’ll probably be fine with this mattress. And what’s great about Helix is if you’re overweight, when you’re customizing the bed you will specify that and presumably get a mattress with more support to compensate. So the fact that you’re created a custom bed really is a differentiator.

Helix Mattress Temperature & Motion Transfer

Like GhostBed, we felt that Helix was about on-par with the rest of the market in terms of coolness and airflow. It wasn’t as cool as Purple Mattress, but we didn’t have any real issues with the temperature with Helix. It’s not a high point for this bed, but it’s not a reason that you should pass on Helix. Just know that this isn’t a particularly cool mattress.

helix sleep review comparison temperature

As for motion transfer, since Helix uses springs, there was some motion transfer—more than the other brands on this list, but not bad. The flip side of that is that the springs mean the mattress responds instantly. We do not think you’ll have to rotate this mattress at all and we’d very surprised to see any significant sagging with Helix. If you do end up seeing any meaningful sag (1″ or greater) with the bed, however, that is a defect that is covered under the warranty.

Helix Mattress Coupon + Price

Helix is priced slightly more expensive than Casper, but much cheaper than Purple. Still, materially more expensive than GhostBed, Zinus, and the Nest Love & Sleep Mattress.

SizePrice ($MSRP)
King/California King: $1,245
Twin XL$700

That’s on the higher end for a bed in a box mattress, but not crazy expensive. And you can get an extra $75 off all mattresses with code SY75 at checkout. Like most online mattress brands, however, Helix will change the discounts that they offer throughout the year. During major holidays you’ll see larger discounts in the range of $100 off, but the code above will work year round. Bottom line with Helix, we really like this mattress. Not perfect, but it’s very very good.

Nest Bedding Love & Sleep Mattress: Most Supportive

Love & Sleep Mattress Overview

Nest Bedding makes plenty of other beds, however, Love & Sleep is one of their more affordable beds and we think it’s a fantastic buy. It reminds us a lot of the Tuft & Needle Mattress that we discussed in our first Ultimate Mattress Buyer Guide. It doesn’t feel like a memory foam mattress, but it still a solid option for anyone on a budget.

Nest Bedding Love and Sleep Mattress Construction

Nest actually offers two versions of the Love and Sleep bed, however, to date, we have only tested the Medium option, but they also offer a Luxury Firm model. In any event, you can see the makeup of the Love & Sleep mattress in the image below.

You have 6″ of dense support foam, followed by 1″ of egg crate (‘SmartFlow’) foam, and then 3″ of Energex foam, which feels very similar to the T&N Foam on the Tuft & Needle Mattress [see on Amazon]. Bringing it all together is a phase changing cover similar to that on the Cocoon Chill Mattress, however, we feel that it’s not quite as effective at cooling you down. To be fair, the Love & Sleep mattress does not run hot and actually is likely the coolest mattress on this list. Nest was clearly going after this given that they included the egg crate foam along with a cooling top foam layer and cover.

nest bedding love and sleep mattress review
Love & Sleep (Medium)

Nest Bedding Feel & Comfort

This is a comfortable mattress, but we think it is on the firmer side of things, despite the fact that it’s the medium option from Nest. We think it’s 5.75/10 on the soft to firm scale shown above. It is definitely softer than Bear Mattress, but noticeably more firm than Casper. Not to sound like a broken record, but it feels nearly the same as Tuft & Needle, but perhaps just a bit more firm. We see this as a mattess for stomach and back sleepers in particular. Not sure that we could recommend for side sleepers or combo sleepers. One thing that we really do appreciate about this mattress is that you never feel like you’ll sink through it. If you’re heavier also, this mattress has the right amount of support. Some of the softer mattresses will not provide the proper level of support for anyone that’s a little over weight.

nest bedding love and sleep mattress feel and comfort
Never feel like you’ll sink through the mattress

Nest Bedding Temperature & Motion Transfer

As mentioned above, this isn’t the coolest mattress out there, but it is probably the best for cooling on this particular list. It’s really between Yogabed and Nest for who has the coolest mattress out of the five. We won’t rave about the air flow or coolness of the Love & Sleep mattress, but at no point did we feel that it got too hot. It’s very comfortable, even in the 100°F Sacramento weather.

nest bedding love and sleep mattress motion transfer
You can see the compression and that there is virtually no motion transfer at all.

As for motion transfer, there is none. You’d think since this isn’t a memory foam mattress that there’d be a little extra motion transfer. It’s really muted with the Love & Sleep bed. Definitely a good option for anyone that moves around a lot in their sleep or who has a partner that is active at night.

Nest Bedding Love & Sleep Coupon + Price

As we mentioned above, this is a fantastic value. Here’s the breakdown for pricing:

SizePrice ($MSRP)
King/California King: $849
Twin XL$529

This is one of the most affordable mattresses out there in the bed in a box category. The average bed in a box king size bed goes for around $1,050. Nest is $300 less than that! Plus, we have a Nest Bedding coupon code for you to make the mattress even more affordable – use code RIZ8 for 8% off the Love & Sleep. What else can we say? Very good value, but you have to want a more more firm mattress.

Yogabed Mattress: Most Extras

Yogabed Mattress Overview & Construction

Yogabed is one of the more interesting beds that we’ve tested in that it definitely has the memory foam mattress feel, but almost none of the downsides. In addition to that, it’s a really attractive looking mattress with a few big time extras.

The bed starts with a 2″ thick layer of support foam on the bottom. This is extra dense and is really designed pretty much specifically to provide structure and support. On top of that is a 5″ layer of high density foam, but Yogabed says this is more breathable. Next is a 2″ thick layer of a proprietary blend of memory foam called YogaGel Cooling Memory Foam. Memory foam mattresses are known for running very hot at night, which is why Yogabed specifically sought after a cooling agent.

The top layer is 1″ thick and is an instant response foam that is also proprietary to Yogabed. It’s called YogaFoam and we think it was very clever for Yogabed to include this. This is right up there with Helix and Purple in terms of responsiveness. That top layer snaps back into form almost immediately. We have basically no concerns about this mattress sagging over time. Yogabed definitely did a good job of procuring the right materials for a really good bed that checks most of the boxes.

yogabed materials breakdown review comparison

Arguably the most interesting and helpful thing about Yogabed is that not only can you remove the mattress cover, but also you can machine wash it unlike 90% of the bed in the box mattresses out there. This makes it so much easier when cleaning and protecting the Yogabed. Very thoughtful addition to have a removable/machine washable cover.

SEE ALSO: Check Current YogaBed Promotions

Yogabed Mattress Comfort & Feel

This a dangerously comfortable mattress. It’s the type of mattress that you don’t want to get up from and that puts you right to sleep at night. We really like the memory foam feel. In fact, it feels more like a memory foam mattress than Casper, Leesa, Bear Mattress, Cocoon by Sealy and plenty of others that we’ve tested in the past. You may not like that, but we think it’s super comfortable. Yogabed, however, does not have that ‘stuck in the mud’ feeling, which you typically get with a proper memory foam mattress. That’s probably thanks mostly to the top instant response layer. Bottom line: comfortable.

yogabed review mattress comparison laying shot
Mattress conforms basically exactly to your frame.

As for the feel of Yogabed, we think it’s a 5.25/10 on the soft to firm scale, meaning it slightly more firm than Leesa, but still very soft. It gets a little firmness from that instant response foam, but this mattress is pretty much spot on for any combo sleepers as well as side sleepers and back/stomach sleepers. You do have to want that memory foam feel, however, because as mentioned above it feels more like a traditional memory foam bed than a lot of the bed in a box options out there.

Yoga Bed Mattress Temperature & Motion Transfer

Only positive things to report here as well. The mattress stays cool even when it’s pretty hot out, especially when compared to traditional memory foam mattresses. It’s not as cool as Purple or Cocoon, but on the short list for coolest mattress of the five we’re comparing here. Yogabed did a good job of cooling this mattress down.

yogabed mattress review motion transfer
Notice there is no motion transfer.

As for motion transfer, you won’t experience hardly any at all. To be fair, that’s pretty much always the case with memory foam mattresses, but nice to see that Yogabed is good for that. You shouldn’t experience any issues with cross-mattress motion on Yogabed. High marks here also.

Yogabed Promo Code + Price

Yogabed always runs promotions where you can get some steep discounts on their products. They want to set prices high and offer very steep discounts, plus bundle in extras. For example, since their owned by Marpac, they usually offer a free white noise machine w/ purchase.

SizePrice ($MSRP)
King/California King: $1,049
Twin XL$499

Pricing is similar to that of Casper, but again, they offer major discounts of $150-$200 quite regularly that make it closer to the price range of GhostBed. You can check updated pricing for Yogabed on company’s website.

Zinus Green Tea Mattress: Most Affordable

Zinus Green Tea Mattress Overview & Construction

Zinus makes by far the most affordable mattress on this list…and surprisingly, we actually like the bed. When you see the price of their Green Tea Mattress [check price on Amazon] you’ll automatically think there has to be something wrong with this bed, but actually we like it, especially for a guest room mattress, someone in college, or someone on a tight budget. Unlike the rest of the bunch, they offer a 30-day return policy, but they do offer free returns.

Zinus designed this not only to be affordable, but to actually sleep cool relative to other memory foam mattresses. And to be clear, this feels like a memory foam mattress. No way around it. You do get that ‘stuck in the mud’ feeling.

zinus green tea mattress review
Various layers of foam, plus egg crate foam for better air flow.

Like the other beds, this Green Tea Mattress is comprised of various layers of foam. You have support foam on the bottom, which actually is egg crate foam for better air flow. Then comfort foam for durability. On top is 3″ of memory foam, which is how you get that prototypical memory foam feel.

Zinus Green Tea Mattress Comfort & Feel

If you want a proper memory foam mattress you’ll probably really like this bed. Dillon loves the memory foam feel. He says it cradles his body better and provides the perfect amount of support. Other people don’t love feeling stuck in the bed. It’s a person-by-person decision.

zinus green tea mattress compression feel comfort review
Lots of compression, but memory foam slowly reacts and conforms.

The 12″ Zinus Green Tea mattress is on the softer end. It’s about a 4/10 on the soft to firm scale, meaning it’s great for side sleepers, but if you sleep predominantly on your back or stomach, you may not love this mattress. Side sleepers really need a softer bed to avoid chronic shoulder and back pain and this mattress is pretty much exactly that.

Zinus Foam Mattress Temperature & Motion Transfer

The one major downside with memory foam mattresses, at least in the past, was that they heated up over night because they trapped your body heat. Zinus has done their best to cool this mattress down with the egg foam, etc., but it does sleep hotter than the rest of the beds on this list. If you’ve tried an older memory foam mattress, Zinus is better than that, but it’s not a cool mattress, so just note that before you jump in.

zinus green tea mattress compression feel comfort review

For motion transfer, it’s hard to get better than proper memory foam…that’s sort of the point of memory foam. It conforms exactly to your body without disturbing the rest of the mattress. It’s very good for motion transfer.

Zinus Coupon Code + Price for Green Tea Mattress

Here’s arguably the best part about Zinus…crazy cheap mattresses. They are some of the best selling mattresses on Amazon as well.

SizePrice ($MSPR)
King/California King$349

Also, sometimes Amazon goes rogue and offers ludicrously low prices on these mattresses. Amazon makes them so cheap sometimes that if you have an empty room that it’s quite tempting to fill it with a Zinus bed. Also, they offer different size Green Tea beds ranging from 8″ – 12″ [see on Amazon] so if you want to save even more money, opt for one of the thinner beds. Bottom line: you have to love memory foam, but we think this makes a fantastic guest room bed.